You can enter Italy from all EU and non-EU countries. The conditions and documentation required vary depending on the traveller's country of origin.
To enter Italy, a valid identity card or passport is sufficient.
They can enter Italy with a passport valid for at least three months after the scheduled departure date from the Schengen area.
A VISA may be required to enter Italy depending on your country of origin. To find out if you need to obtain a VISA, go to the esteri.it website.
Remember that when you cross the border, Italian authorities may ask you to show the documentation justifying the reasons and duration of your stay in Italy.
The VISA must be requested through the Italian consulate in your country of residence and is generally issued 90 days after making the request.
If you stay in a hotel or other hospitality facility, the manager will fill out a declaration of presence on your behalf which will be sent to Police Headquarters. You must always carry a copy of this declaration with you so that you can show it to the police if asked to do so.
If you enter Italy from a country outside the Schengen Area, the harmonised Schengen stamp applied to the passport during border checks takes the place the declaration of presence.
If you enter Italy from a country in the Schengen Area and do not stay in a hospitality facility, you must provide a declaration of presence within 8 days of your entry into Italy to the Police Headquarters of the Province where you are staying.
There are specific limits that vary from country to country as regards bringing particular goods into Italy, such as food, alcohol and tobacco derivatives, as well as cultural items and pharmaceutical products. Money in cash is also subject to precise limits: you can bring up to € 9,999.99 in coins and banknotes into Italy without having to make a declaration. Above this sum, you must compile a specific form c/o pertinent offices to avoid incurring penalties and seizures ranging from 30% to 50% of the sum in excess of the indicated limit. There are also precise rules about what travellers may include in their personal effects, transport of goods of animal and plant origin or bringing pets into Italy.
The indications applied in order to enter Italy must also be upheld when leaving, be it to your home country, another European country or any other destination.
For more information about every single item outlined above, please consult the Traveller's Customs Card, which you can view/download here:
Tax Free (only for non-EU countries)
If you arrive from a non-European country (or in any case from outside the Schengen area), you can obtain direct deduction or a subsequent VAT refund affixed to the goods you purchase in Italy.
This benefit may be granted provided that:
It must be mentioned that the OTELLO service has been active at exit points from Italy since 1 September 2018. This procedure digitizes the VISA to be affixed to tax-free invoices issued electronically. It should be mentioned in this regard that, at the time of purchase, travellers must ensure that the copy of the invoice received from the seller has the request code certifying that it has been sent to OTELLO.
For more information about this procedure, refer to the section dedicated to OTELLO.
If you prefer, you can contact an “OTELLO intermediary”, i.e. an agency specialized in “Tax free shopping” which will handle transmitting your data to OTELLO and obtaining the VAT refund. The agency will retain a percentage directly from the VAT sum refunded to you.
It is always advisable to take out travel insurance to ensure financial coverage in the event of flight delays/cancellations and avoid exposure in the event of health problems: you should also consider this option when planning your visit to our country.
In addition to the printed version of various flight and hotel booking receipts, which you should keep in your luggage, always save an image or pdf also on your mobile phone: it will be easier to show your credentials when requested!
Check if any electrical/electronic devices you wish to bring with you and use in Italy need adapters for our systems.
Italy has about forty airports distributed throughout the country, providing a dense network of national, international and intercontinental flights.
The main entry hubs are the intercontinental and international arrival points of Italy: "Leonardo da Vinci" Rome Fiumicino Airport and Milan Malpensa Airport, yet almost all Italian airports operate international connections.
The offering of flights by the main carriers and low-cost airlines is very broad and covers a large number of destinations. Italy is connected by air with most European nations and all continents. Visit the websites of the main airlines to obtain more information about routes, timetables, prices and availability. More or less all airports are served by an impressive network of taxis, buses and trains, ensuring comfortable and fast connections to city centres so that you can reach your final destination with relative ease.
You can take advantage of EuroCity trains to travel to Italy easily. These international convoys connect various European cities and offer a wide choice of timetables and routes.
For example: Geneva, Marseilles, Innsbruck or Munich all have direct connections with Venice, Bologna, Verona or Milan.
If you prefer to travel at night, the equivalent service is offered by EuroNight trains, thereby enabling you to sleep for the duration of the journey.
Naturally, in addition to using these lines, you can also arrive in Italy thanks to the complex European railway network connecting our cities to other capitals.
The extensive European motorway network and the availability of several passes over the Alpine chain make access to Italy by car or motorbike easy: Italy can be reached from Austria, France, Switzerland and Slovenia.
The main passes open all year round are:
Alpine tunnels are often closed during the winter and sometimes even in autumn and spring because of snow.
Visit the "Getting Around" section to discover useful information and the main driving rules to drive in Italy.
For real-time information:
Italy can also be reached from all over Europe by bus along routes that have always connected our country to the rest of the continent. There are many scheduled agencies running such trips by road, including recent low-cost companies offering the service at very competitive prices.
Thanks to more than 8000 km of coastline, Italy offers many opportunities to arrive by sea at the country's numerous ports. Before leaving, find information about crossing times and international routes that include stops in Italian ports. Many national and international shipping companies connect the main European ports with Italy. Ticket prices are higher in the summer and vary - if you are travelling with a vehicle - depending on its size.
The Grandi Navi Veloci fleet connects Barcelona to Genoa. Connections from Greece to Italy are assured over the most popular routes: from Igoumenitsa, Corfu and Patras, Blue Star Ferries arrive directly in Venice and Brindisi while Superfast Ferries travel to Ancona and Bari. Fragline Ferries covers the Corfu-Brindisi route; Grimaldi Ferries, one of the best-known Italian companies, connects Tunis and Barcelona with Civitavecchia, Salerno, Livorno and Palermo. Tirrenia Navigazione ferries run numerous connections throughout the year between Tunis and the main Italian islands, Sicily and Sardinia. Marmara Lines connects the Turkish city of Cesme with Ancona and Brindisi. Jadrolinija connects Dubrovnik, on the Croatian coast, with Bari, while Virtu Ferries is the best company to reach Malta from Catania.
For more information:
Grimaldi Lines - www.grimaldi-ferries.com - Spain, France, Sicily, Sardinia, Malta, Tunisia and Corsica.
Gnv Grandi Navi Veloci - www.gnv.it - Sardinia, Sicily, Spain, Tunisia, Malta, Morocco
Moby Line - www.moby.it - Sardinia - Corsica - Elba - Livorno - Civitavecchia
Snav - www.snav.it - Sicily - Sardinia - Greece / Croatia - Aeolian Islands
Emilia Romagna Lines - www.emiliaromagnalines.it - Croatia - Slovenia
Saremar - www.saremar.it - Corsica - Sardinia
CET (Central European Time) is applied throughout Italy.
From early autumn to late winter, standard time is applied, corresponding to CUT +1, one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
At the beginning of spring, "Summer time" is applied: clocks are moved forward by one hour (CUT +2 time zone) to enjoy more sunshine in the late afternoon-evening.
Changing from winter time to summer time and vice versa always takes place overnight between Saturday and Sunday; dates vary from year to year.
WHAT ARE THE TYPICAL MEALTIMES IN ITALY?
People in Italy normally have breakfast starting at 07.00 but you will also find bars and pastry shops open as early as 06.00 in the morning.
Hotels usually have a set time (approximately 10.00) when breakfast must be finished. Room service will be able to meet your needs even outside this timetable.
Lunch in restaurants, farm holiday centres, diners or bars is from 12.30 PM to 2.30 PM. For particular anniversaries or events, the lunch start time and duration may vary without limits.
Aperitifs - the not to be missed appointment! Aperitifs are generally enjoyed from 6.00 PM until dinner time.
Dinner is normally served from 7.30 PM until 11.00 PM.
You will also find places that serve late dinners for after-theatre and people who prefer dining in the middle of the night.
The official language spoken throughout Italy is Italian. Alternatively, English is the recommended language for most conversations you will have on holiday, from arrival at the airport or accommodation facilities, shopping or museum visits, ordering meals at restaurants or to receive information.
Italy is home to several minority languages: border languages and languages spoken by historical communities, twelve of which are officially recognized: Albanian, Catalan, Croatian, French, Provence French, Friulan, German, Greek, Ladino, Occitan, Sardinian and Slovenian.
Italians are welcoming people, helpful and curious to get to know visitors wherever they come from. This means you will have plenty of opportunities for contact with the people in the places you visit: this will help you discover the power of dialects, genuine languages that vary from region to region and city to city. They are the outcome of the history of our country, where a huge variety of peoples and cultures came, stayed and mingled.
We are in the heart of the Mediterranean, floating on the sea yet anchored to the mountains. The generally mild climate means you can visit Italy at any time of year. However, the peninsula extends vertically from north to south and consequently has a great variety of climates. If you're wondering what to pack, take a glance at the table below!
Average temperatures in Italy by season and geographical area (°C)
Note: the temperatures indicated in the table are indicative and may vary from city to city or depending on whether you are near the sea, in the mountains or the hinterland.
The consumption of alcohol in Italy is forbidden under the age of 16; managers of bars and clubs are authorized to ask for an identity document before serving young people.
The consumption of alcohol on the street is allowed but in some cases, Local Councils have regulations that prohibit drinking on the street in the evening.
We advise you to find out if there are any such bans and the times of application in the city you are visiting by contacting the accommodation where you are staying or the police.
Airports and large stations usually have banks and exchange agencies for withdrawals or related services. Banks (with 24-hour ATMs) are located all over the country; you can exchange/buy traveller's checks (in dollars or euros) through banks.
The currency used in Italy is the Euro.
Coin denominations: 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 Euro, 2 Euro.
Banknote denominations: 5 Euros, 10 Euros, 20 Euros, 50 Euros, 100 Euros, 200 Euros, 500 Euros.
In addition to cash, you can pay for your purchases using the most common credit cards, by now customary in Italian commercial activities that usually display the symbols of accepted circuits at the entrance. In major centres, you can also pay using your smartphone and various dedicated apps.
The Italian cellular mobile network is based on LTE technology. The 4G network is the most common and ensures an average coverage of 99.3% of national territory. 5G is currently only available in Milan, Bologna, Turin, Rome and Naples.
To call an Italian telephone number from abroad, you must dial the international prefix 0039 (+39), followed by the user's telephone number, whether you are using a landline or a mobile phone. To call another country from Italy, you must enter 00 (+) and the international prefix of the country you wish to call, then the number of the user you want to contact. This rule also applies if you use your mobile phone in Italy with a foreign contract (such as your country of origin).
Depending on the duration of your stay, we recommend that you consider purchasing an Italian sim card to keep costs down. For calls made inside Italy, simply dial the telephone number without the international prefix. Public telephones (found on streets, in certain premises and in shopping centres) work with coins or cards that can be purchased at tobacconists, newsagents and telephony shops.
For information about roaming services and any costs you may have to incur, please consult the specific page on europa.eu
As for internet browsing, if you do not have a tariff plan that allows you to use the data network at no additional cost, we recommend using the wi-fi networks available throughout the country. In addition to wi-fi networks made available by hotels, you can use those offered free of charge by many businesses, such as bars and restaurants, attractions, places of culture, etc.
Another very useful service is the one provided by the "Piazza Wifi Italia" project, the national free internet access network. Before leaving, download the wifi.italia.it app (available for iOS and Android) and register. Thanks to the geo-localized map (that can also be downloaded for off-line use), you can easily locate the Piazza Wifi Italia closest to you.
It is always possible to buy a sim card from an Italian operator offering the gigabytes you need for the duration of your stay.
Electricity available everywhere in Italy at 220 volts alternating current at a frequency of 50 hertz. Electrical sockets comply with European legislation. Most hotels have adapters for special plugs.
Drinking water supplies are assured throughout the country: you can drink the water from all taps and fountains.
In rare instances where the water is not drinkable, you will always find a sign that warns you with the wording "Non Potabile".
The most common religion in Italy is Christianity with various confessions that include almost all believers. Most Italian Christians are Catholic but there are minorities of Orthodox, Protestant and other Christian denominations, such as Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons. The Jewish religion is the oldest of those present in Italy, with a widespread community still living in the country, especially in Rome. Islam also has a large number of the faithful: it is the second-largest religion by number of believers. There are also followers of Asian cults; the most common among Italians is Buddhism.
Freedom of religious worship is a principle guaranteed by the Italian Constitution. Whatever your faith, and especially in large cities, you will find not only churches but also mosques, synagogues and other places of worship. If you visit a place of prayer to appreciate its architectural and artistic wonders, please maintain respectful behaviour, especially during services.
Italy has 12 national holidays, days when most of the country's production activities stop, with public and private offices closed. Some museums and cultural sites have closing days to coincide with certain holidays: enquire before planning your visit. Bars, pastry shops, ice cream parlours and restaurants remain open. In conjunction with certain annual events, local fairs or markets are set up and absolutely should not be missed. The "Christmas markets" are famous, especially in Northern Italy, while living nativity scenes are particularly common in the South.
These are the dates:
1 January - New Year's Day
6 January - Epiphany
Easter (date varies from year to year)
Easter Monday (the day after Easter)
25 April - Anniversary of the Liberation
1 May - Labour Day
2 June - Republic Day
15 August - Assumption of the Virgin Mary (National August Holiday)
1 November - All Saints Day
8 December - Immaculate Conception
25 December - Christmas Day
LOCAL HOLIDAYS AND PATRON SAINT FESTIVALS
In many cities, the patron saint's day is a public holiday. Offices and businesses may be closed but you can take advantage of an opportunity to witness often fascinating and animated celebrations.
29 January - San Costanzo, Perugia (Umbria)
23 April - San Giorgio, Campobasso (Molise)
25 April - San Marco, Venice (Veneto)
4 May - San Ciriaco of Jerusalem, Ancona (Marches)
9 May and 6 December - San Nicola, Bari (Apuiia)
30 May - San Gerardo, Potenza (Basilicata)
10 June - San Massimo d'Aveia, L'Aquila (Abruzzo)
24 June - San Giovanni, Genoa (Liguria)
24 June - San Giovanni, Florence (Tuscany)
24 June - San Giovanni, Turin (Piedmont)
26 June - San Vigilio, Trento (Trentino)
29 June - San Pietro & Paolo, Rome (Latium)
15 July - Santa Rosalia, Palermo (Sicily)
16 July - San Vitaliano, Catanzaro (Calabria)
7 September - San Grato, Aosta (Aosta Valley)
19 September - San Gennaro, Naples (Campania)
4 October - San Petronio, Bologna (Emilia Romagna)
30 October - San Saturnino, Cagliari (Sardinia)
3 November - San Giusto, Trieste (Friuli Venezia Giulia)
7 December - Sant'Ambrogio, Milan (Lombardy)
Italy has a very broad offering of hospitality services: there are many hotels, farm holiday centres, residences and b&bs ready to welcome you just a stroll from the beach, in the city, in the hinterland or in the mountains. Large, traditional hotel chains offering every desirable modern comfort are also joined by find smaller realities, often in exclusive architectural contexts, such as noble homes, castles and period villas. It will be a different way to enjoy your holiday, immersed in the history and art that only Italy can offer.
Farm holiday centres are among the proposals that make Italy stand out from many other countries: these facilities are found in genuine Italian farms, from the most rural to full-scale, charming mansions. Here, more than anywhere else, you will be able to savour local produce, respecting the seasons and Italian agricultural traditions, enjoying different experiences throughout the year, from farm animals to harvesting. Located throughout Italy, these centres are also the starting point for itineraries on foot, bicycle or horseback discovering many treasures.
The accommodation offering today also includes an ever-growing number of eco and green facilities, where respect for the environment is as sacred as the well-being of guests.
Camping enthusiasts will find the perfect solution for every aspiration in Italy: in tents, of course, but also in caravans, campers or bungalows (when available). The latest trend, for 100% contact with nature, includes tents suspended on cables between trees, even in woods high in the mountains.
Many facilities in Italy offer additional services to help make your stay more enjoyable: wellness centres, gyms, restaurants, excursions, cultural visits and much more, some included in the cost of the stay, others available on request.
Italian restaurants serve an enormous variety of food and wine experiences in every corner of the country. The renowned Mediterranean diet here is interpreted through a thousand colours, from the true tastes of tradition to the inventions of our many starred chefs. Family-run restaurants, where you can discover the true flavour of Italian cuisine and its regional nuances, are flanked by avant-garde realities in the world of food. Not to mention vegan, fusion and zero km alternatives. They are to be found everywhere: you can eat in a starred restaurant at high altitude, surrounded by snow, or in a typical trattoria in the centre of a large city. To enjoy our food and wine to the utmost, we suggest you book your seat at table in the venue you prefer in advance.
The times for sitting sit down at table in Italy vary between north and south: the trend in the north is to start both lunch and dinner earlier, while in the south it is usual to start much later.
In accommodation facilities, restaurants, diners or bars, lunch is usually served from 12.30 pm until 2.30 PM. For particular anniversaries or events, lunch start time and duration may vary.
Aperitifs - the not to be missed appointment! Aperitifs are generally enjoyed from 6.00 PM until dinner time. Originating as a moment of relaxation at the end of a day's work, especially in central-northern Italy, it has quickly become a chance to taste small gastronomic delights accompanied by Spritz and Italian Prosecco by now routine all over the country.
Classic dinners are normally served from 7.30 PM until 11.00 PM.
You will also find places that serve late dinners for after theatre and people who prefer dining in the middle of the night.
Tips are not mandatory and there are no established rules in Italy. It is customary to leave a figure close to 10% of the bill when the customer is satisfied with the service.
Italy is a country of art and culture. This is not merely a boast: it is absolutely true… Wherever you are, you will come across a church, a ruin or a road that tells something of Italy's many centuries of history. From the coasts, the first and easy landing places for millennia, to the mountains that link Italy to the rest of Europe; from the smallest villages to the most modern cities, Italy has many museums revealing our art up close, from prehistoric times to the XXI century, thanks to works, artefacts and unique finds, as well as our culture, traditions and ancient crafts. A museum for every result of ingenuity, discovery and conquest.
So much history has taken place in Italy that entire sites are now open-air museums, with vestiges of ancient times ready to be discovered under the sun. Necropolis, settlements of the Roman Empire, traces of ancient civilizations resurfacing over time and accessible today to visitors from all over the world, who only here in Italy can find so many different examples. During summer, the offering is enriched by exclusive initiatives, such as visits at night or dawn, classical music concerts and performances of all kinds in incomparable settings.
Today you can access all this with a single click, booking your visit to the leading, most popular places of Italian culture online or by phone. You should exclusively use the official ticketing circuits associated with the places you wish to visit.
Discounts are available for groups, minors and the over-70s.
Admission is free to all state museums every first Sunday of the month.
We advise you always to refer to official channels even for tourist guides: be wary of people offering you this type of service on the street or near the Italian centres of culture and museums if they are not officially authorized.
You can enjoy theatrical performances, concerts and film screenings in large cities as well as villages. From such a monument as La Scala in Milan to the many stages found in smaller towns, from latest-generation multi-screens to outdoor arenas or small provincial cinemas.
Many theatres are listed in tourist guides for their history, beautiful architecture, the works of art they contain or for having hosted such legends of music as Verdi, Puccini and Paganini. This is why it is possible today to take guided tours around our prestigious theatres, to learn about their richness and secrets, usually in the morning and in any case outside performance times.
From dawn to dusk, you can immerse yourself in the green settings of villas and city parks, go jogging or ride a bicycle. The offering is impressive, there are green spaces everywhere and they often boast jewels of architecture and art waiting to be discovered. In addition to villas and public parks, you can also immerse yourself in green settings in gardens and botanical gardens of great artistic and landscape value requiring paid admission. In this case, we advise you to book your visit to speed up access once you arrive at your chosen destination. The range of offers includes visits on foot, bicycle and horseback, and facilities accessible to everyone, from children to the elderly and people with disabilities.
You will truly find something of everything: from artisan products to haute couture, from fine wines to local foods to name but few - simply by looking around many Italian shops.
Shops are usually open from Monday to Saturday. Some are open all day from 9.00 AM to 8.00 PM, others close at lunchtime, approximately from 1.00 PM to 3.00 PM.
In historic and tourist centres, many shops are also open on Sundays, as is also the case in airports and large railway stations. Obviously, these indicative times vary from north to south or in places with a strong tourist vocation depending on the season: opening hours are longer in the high season and shorter in mid and low season.
They are many different venues throughout Italy, often close to large towns as well important motorway junctions: these shopping centres have grown over the years and are now rooted in the social fabric and local areas. With so many shop windows, culinary proposals, spaces for children and - in some cases - even fitness centres or multi-screen cinemas, they are ideal destinations for a day of shopping. A more recent phenomenon, outlets are again large shopping centres but above all focus on top fashion and high-tech brands with very advantageous offers, since they offer out-of-catalogue products.
Shopping centres, outlets and department stores are generally open every day from 9.30 to 20.00 (in some cases until 24.00).
For all goods/services you buy in Italy, remember to ask for (and keep) the receipt or invoice at the time of payment: it will explain possession of goods and avoid penalties in case of controls. In fact, every official business operation in Italy is obliged to issue a payment document, and every person must receive one after each purchase, in order not to break the law. But also - when purchasing products - to take advantage of guarantees or any returns.
In Italy, the prices of goods and services are usually those displayed or given in price lists/menus: it is not customary to bargain when making a purchase.
However, there are some fairs and markets where you can bargain with traders. In early July and after the Christmas holidays, Italian shops also hold the so-called "sales", offering significant discounts on products. The precise dates vary from region to region.
Be wary of proposals on the street, on the beach or in historic centres of counterfeit fashion products: true Italian design cannot be bought on pavements! Giving in to the temptation to save means you would also break the law, which forbids the sale and purchase alike of these products that have nothing to do with genuine Made in Italy.
Pharmacies follow shop opening hours. In larger cities, you will find some open 24 hours a day. During holidays (such as Sundays) or for night emergencies, pharmacies takes turns to stay open: a calendar (displayed outside each pharmacy even when closed) will indicate where the nearest open pharmacy can be found.
Travelling by air in Italy is easy, thanks to a broad range of flights and carriers all over the country. There are numerous connections between cities, as well as services from Rome and Milan to all the other Italian airports. The wide-ranging network also connects the mainland with Sicily and Sardinia, and even the smaller islands. There are about forty small and medium airports in Italy, located in all Italian regions (except Molise and Basilicata).
The main Italian carriers are:
Air Dolomiti: www.airdolomiti.it
Blu Panorama Airlines: www.blue-panorama.com
A capillary railway network will take you to even the remotest places in Italy, from seaside destinations to mountain peaks, while passing through unique landscapes and sceneries. You can rely on fast connections between the main cities (Rome-Milan in just over 3 hours) to travel in comfort, taking advantage of numerous on-board services such as free wi-fi, catering, assistance for the disabled, accompanied children, transport of animals and bicycles.
You can plan your trips for tourism or work choosing from more than three hundred daily links run by the two companies operating in Italy: Trenitalia and Italo Treno (NTV).
Tickets can be purchased online through the websites of the two companies, at travel agencies or railway station ticket offices.
Before getting on-board, check whether you need to stamp your ticket using the obliterating machines in the station.
In addition to high-speed trains, there are minor lines serving the whole of Italy, including small towns, in a capillary manner.
Regular buses connect all Italian destinations over a capillary network, from large cities to small villages. Their itineraries inevitably cross unique landscapes and scenarios, by the sea or in the mountains, bringing together the many small jewels dotted around every corner of Italy. It is always advisable to reserve your seat in advance online, by phone or through authorized dealers.
European Driving Licenses are recognized in Italy.
Citizens from non-EU countries must have an international driving permit (IDP).
To move around freely, you can also hire a car but you should inform yourself in advance about the requirements needed by the various car hire agencies. The driver must usually be over 23 years of age (sometimes 25), but there are also companies that allow rental to younger people. You also need a credit card and a driving license.
An excellent motorway network, indicated by green signs, crosses all twenty Italian regions. Two main motorways connect Northern and Southern Italy: the Autostrada del Sole (A1, serving Milan, Bologna, Florence, Rome and Naples) and the Adriatic (A14, connecting Bologna, Ancona, Pescara, Bari and Taranto). Motorway tools are applied in Italy. You can pay in cash or by credit card. Alternatively, there are quicker methods, such as "Viacard" or "Telepass". Viacard is a magnetic card that can be used in automatic and manual toll gates or sometimes given to the toll collector. Telepass is the most practical and fastest automatic payment system, based on remote electronic recognition and charging the toll to the user: it means you can pay without stopping at the toll booth and avoid queues.
For more information relating to weather conditions, toll costs or traffic, you can stop at the “Punti Blu” (Blue Points) located on all motorway junctions, visit the official website of Società Autostrade or phone the Traffic Call Centre on 840-042121 (operational 24 hours a day).
An alternative to motorways is the impressive network of state roads indicated by blue signs. There are no tolls and have one or two lanes; they are secondary routes that often ensure beautiful views that cannot be admired from the motorways: they are slower but they make the journey much more interesting.
For more information: www.autostrade.it; www.aci.it
Italy boasts a large network of petrol (unleaded, diesel) and gas (LPG or methane) supplies both on the motorways and on secondary roads. Along the main motorways and in various built-up areas - not necessarily the largest - you can find columns today for fast charging of hybrid or electric vehicles.
A twenty-four hour assistance service for motorists in emergencies is provided by the Automobile Club of Italy (ACI), a Federation of 106 Provincial Automobile Clubs which represents and protects the interests of Italian motoring. You can contact the number 803.116, or visit ACI's official website.
Parking areas in large cities are marked off by stripes of various colours: usually, white stripes indicate free parking spaces, yellow indicate reserved parking (disabled, taxis...), while the blue indicates paid parking at rates which vary depending on the city and, in some cities, also on the area. Check the information on signs and payment columns to find out the times and days when you have to pay for parking, as well as the hourly cost.
Many city centres have limited access to them by car with the activation of ZTL areas (Limited Traffic Zone) and timetables. This means that certain streets and squares cannot be entered when access points are open unless you have specific permits. The days and times of such restrictions vary from city to city but the signals are always evident and make it immediately understandable whether or not you can enter a specific city area. They are normally disabled on weekends but it is always a good idea to check based on where you are and the applicable rules.
Drive on the right and overtake on the left.
It is compulsory for all motor vehicles to turn on the low beam, position and license plate lights on any suburban road and on motorways, even during the day. In the city, drivers can decide whether to keep them on or not. The obligation to turn these lights on is also valid in cities for all two-wheeled vehicles (mopeds and motorcycles).
The horn should not be used in residential areas, except for emergencies.
Trams and trains have right of way.
The use of seat belts both front and rear (when present) is mandatory: sanctions can be applied to both the driver and passengers.
On roads with two or more lanes, you must occupy the free lane most to the right; the left lane or lanes are reserved for overtaking.
When arriving at a junction, unless otherwise indicated, you must give way to cars coming from the right.
Helmets are absolutely mandatory when riding mopeds and motorcycles of all engine powers. Motorcycles below 150 cc cannot circulate on motorways under any circumstances.
DRINK - DRIVE
In Italy, the upper limit for driving with alcohol in the blood is 0.5 grams per litre, in line with the value in the rest of Europe.
To enforce speed limits, numerous electronic controls with speed cameras and tutors are installed along the entire Italian road and motorway network.
Speeds limits for various vehicles based on the type of road travelled are given below.
Cars and Motorcycles (over 150 cc):
urban areas 50 km/h (31 mph);
secondary suburban roads 90 km/h (56 mph);
main suburban roads 110 km/h (68 mph);
motorways 130 km/h (81 mph).
In the event of rain or snow, the limit drops to 110 km/h on motorways and 90 km/h on the main suburban roads.
Car with trailer or caravan:
In urban areas, the top speed is 50 km/h (31 mph);
on secondary suburban roads 70 km/h (44 mph);
on main suburban roads 70 km/h (44 mph);
on motorways 80 km/h (50 mph).
Motorhomes weighing more than 3.5 tonnes but less than 12 tonnes:
secondary suburban roads 80 km/h (50 mph);
main suburban roads 80 km/h (50 mph);
motorways 100 km/h (62 mph).
A warning triangle and spare tyre must always be available on all vehicles. A first aid kit and a fire extinguisher are also recommended.
It is mandatory to have safety vests or reflective shoulder straps available on the vehicle. They must be worn by the driver and passengers outside vehicles at a standstill on the roadway, outside built-up areas, at night or in poor visibility conditions. It is also mandatory to wear them when you set up the warning triangle after a breakdown or if you get out of the car when stopped in the emergency lane.
Every vehicle circulating in Italy must be accompanied by civil liability insurance. For people arriving from abroad, the green card is recommended: an insurance policy that can also be taken out at the border and valid for 15, 30 or 45 days.
In the event of minor road accidents, the parties - if they agree on the dynamics of the accident and their responsibilities - can sign the "Constatazione Amichevole di Incidente" (Amicable Accident Statement) available for each car with the insurance documents. This procedure speeds up compensation times for those who are in the right and does not require the intervention of law enforcement agencies.
For more complex situations, you can contact the "Polizia Comunale" (Municipal Police) if the collision occurred in an urban centre or the "Polizia Stradale (Road Police) (calling 113) if you are on the motorway or a suburban road. It is important, especially if you call law enforcement officers, not to move anything at the scene of the accident: the vehicles and any parts of them scattered on the roadway must remain where they are.
Italy is a perfect destination for cyclists, both for its geographical configuration with gradients suitable for everyone and unique landscapes, as well as other means of transport in Italy that allow you to take your bicycle with you everywhere. Bicycles can be taken on all trains marked with a large bicycle icon.
You can take only one bicycle free of charge (knocked down and contained in a suitably closed bag or a folding bike) and place it in indicated baggage spaces. If there is not enough space, you can arrange it elsewhere provided that it does not hinder or annoy other passengers or train staff. In any case, dimensions must be no more than 80x110x45 cm.
If you do not have a folding bike and you need to transport your bicycle fully assembled, enquire at the ticket office to find out the timetables of trains with a bike transport service and any rates applied.
For more information: www.trenitalia.com
All ferries and ships offer free bicycle transport.
In large cities, as well as in some small towns, you will find car sharing, bike sharing and scooter rental services: an agile, low cost approach to short journeys.
Buses and trams circulate daily in Italian cities, connecting historic centres and suburbs, surrounding areas and smaller towns and villages. Remember to buy your ticket at authorized outlets - official corners, newsagents, bars - before boarding. Services are very frequent from Monday to Friday, with end-of-service times that vary from area to area; large cities have night services at reduced frequency. The number of trips available at weekends decreases but the evening duration of the service is extended.
Milan, Rome, Naples, Brescia, Turin, Catania and Genoa: you can travel about quickly on classic underground subways in these cities. Other Italian cities have large-scale rapid rail or tram lines, similar to subway systems. During the week, service is constant and ends at times that vary from city to city; the number of trips and the end of service times change at weekends.
For quick trips, especially in cities, taxis are a valid option. This service is available in larger cities and tourist centres (more frequently in high season), as well as smaller villages thanks to app-based management.
Authorized taxis in Italy are white and must have the word 'Taxi' written on the roof. They must also be equipped with a taximeter indicating the cost of the journey in real time to which, depending on individual instances, extra costs for luggage, holiday service, night service and out of town routes (such as trips to airports) may be added. To book a taxi you should go to taxi ranks marked by yellow lines or an orange sign, or call radio taxi phone numbers, which vary from city to city.
A single paid number is available - 892192 - that operates throughout Italy and processes requests for more than sixty radio taxi companies, thereby covering about 70% of the taxi vehicles available in the country.
Alternatively, there are many official rental agencies with drivers you can contact for city journeys or medium-long hauls.
Always be wary of people who stop you on arrival in the city, at the airport or station, offering you a taxi service: these are unauthorized people and should be avoided. Taxis in Italy have specific, easily identifiable waiting ranks and drivers do not solicit customers on the street.
Ships, hydrofoils and ferries connect ports everywhere along the Italian coast as well as the large and small islands of our country. The service is available all year round and, depending on the company and the type of ship, you can also embark with a means of transport at an additional cost. In many cases, you can reach the tiny pearls of the Mediterranean for a day trip. And if you take your bike with you, you don't have to pay any extra!
If you find yourself in serious difficulty and need help, the single number to call for emergencies in Italy is 112, a free number you dial without any area code: the operator will put you in touch with the authority or service that can help you.
For needs limited to specific issues, you can also call the following numbers:
State Police: 113 (accidents, theft, etc.)
Fire Brigade: 115 (fires, weather emergencies)
Urgent and emergency medical service: 118 (must concern health issues)
Pharmacies follow shop opening hours. In larger cities, you will find some open 24 hours a day. During holidays (such as Sundays) or for night emergencies, pharmacies take turns to stay open: a calendar (displayed outside each pharmacy even when closed) will indicate where the nearest open pharmacy can be found.
If any problems arise during your stay in Italy, we initially suggest that you contact the accommodation facility, restaurant, shop, etc. to obtain suitable explanations in this regard. If you are not satisfied, you can take action to protect your rights bearing in mind that it is important to collect and keep all documentation and testimony useful for proving alleged non-compliances (photographs and videos where possible, declarations signed by other tourists, invoices for expenses incurred, etc.). If the disservice involved several people, you can present a joint complaint.
If you receive requests for prices other than those displayed, or because of the lack of prescribed licenses, non-compliance with hygienic-sanitary rules, or refusal to issue a receipt, you can contact the local Municipal Police or other Public Order Authority, even through consumer associations.
Any thefts, scams or violent acts must be reported to the Carabinieri or the State Police, whose report must be attached to the claim for damages. Pertinent telephone numbers:
Assistance and Advice
For information, protection, assistance and advice on their rights, tourists can contact Consumer Associations belonging to the National Council of Consumers and Users.
You can also contact the Europe Direct service (n. 00 800 67891011) from anywhere in the European Union or send an email using the form you can download here.
For the resolution of consumer disputes in EU/EEA Member States, it is possible to obtain information about the “European Consumer Centres Network - ECC Net" by consulting the website www.ecc-netitalia.it or www.euroconsumatori.org.
Italy guarantees medical assistance to anyone in need of it who goes to a public hospital or similar structures in the area (accident & emergency, outpatient, 24 h doctor service). In such cases, users are not required to make any payment. However, we recommend that you take out travel health insurance before departure to cover any accidents and illnesses not covered by the National Health Service.
There are embassies representing more than 200 countries in the capital, Rome: you will be able to find out about the cultural initiatives organized by the various States represented in Italy and business opportunities, as well as procedures for working in Italy or obtaining teaching qualification. Consulates can be of great help to tourists who may unfortunately find themselves in difficulty in Italy. They can provide assistance in specific individual and group emergency situations and issue travel documents for return home in the event of theft or loss of identity documents. Countries which have stable and frequent relationships with Italy have consulates in the main Italian cities. Moreover, many Italian cities have honorary consulates that can help tourists and support them in any eventuality.
You can find the Embassy or Consulates of your own country here in Italy here: